You probably don’t like conflict. Most people try to avoid it as much as possible! But conflict is inevitable in life—because no one is perfect.
But if you want to build a better future and pursue your purpose, we need to bear with each other and forgive one another if any of us have a grievance against someone.
Before you can learn healthy ways to respond to conflict, you need to know the 4 common causes of conflict.
- Unmet basic needs. Unmet needs can be physical, emotional, relational, sexual, or financial.
- Falling behind. When you feel like you’re not making any progress or you can’t keep up, it’s easy to become cranky. And that’s always a good setup for conflict!
- Insensitive leaders. Conflict is inevitable when the people who have the power don’t do something about the problem.
- Feeling powerless to change things. It can be frustrating when you see other people thriving around you while you’re unable to make ends meet. People all around the world feel this way.
Now that you know the causes of conflict, how should you respond? Is it even possible to earn the respect of others during times of conflict?
Yes, it is! In fact, there are many ways to earn the respect of others during times of conflict.
The very first thing you should do is this: Empathize with the feelings of others. If you want people to respect you, you must respect their feelings. What you sow, you will reap. “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” This is especially true when people are hurting, grieving, fearful, or feel there’s been an injustice against them. People want to know that you understand what they’re going through. They don’t care what you know until they first know that you care.
By the way, you don’t have to agree with someone to empathize with their emotions. When you see people protesting, for example, you may not agree with their conclusions, but you can still try to understand why they’re doing what they’re doing.
So, if you want to be respected, empathize with people’s feelings. You don’t have to agree with them, but if you listen empathetically to their feelings, you’ll earn their respect.
Next week, we’ll look at 3 more healthy ways to respond to conflict and to earn the respect of others during times of conflict.